By Dana Jasat, Manager, Exhibit Sales, International Association of Amusement Parks & Attractions (IAAPA)
I first learned about the Certified in Exhibition Management® (CEM) program through my colleague at IAAPA (International Association of Amusement Parks & Attractions) and quickly became intrigued with the program and the benefit it would have on me, both professionally and personally. The program has enlightened me on so many different elements as it relates to the exhibition and convention industry and has enhanced my knowledge and perspective on how events come to fruition.
IAAPA granted me the opportunity to attend my very first three classes in 2018 during CEM week in Chicago. From the very first class, I knew wholeheartedly that this was something I wanted to pursue. From the moment the first class commenced, I felt the vibrant energy and soaked in the plethora of the ideas, knowledge and expertise of so many incredible industry professionals.
The CEM program offers a wide array of classes that fit any job description in addition to classes that enabled me to better understand my colleagues and their roles. This ultimately allowed for a more cohesive, effective and productive team environment upon my return to my office. Whether you oversee registration/housing or catering, you will quickly realize how all these job functions intertwine, connect and collaborate together. My favorite class was the Exhibition and Event Sales Fundamentals which provided me the tools, techniques and strategies on how I could approach my job differently. This class added value to my day-to-day role as I was able to dialogue with other sales managers and hear from their experience as to what has worked and not worked in order to have a successful tradeshow.
Prior to starting my CEM course, I had a one-track mind of how an event should be executed from a sales standpoint. I only knew my area of “expertise” and didn’t account for many others. After my first CEM class in Chicago, I quickly realized how much knowledge I had yet to learn. CEM week went by flawlessly and everyone on the IAEE team was extremely engaging and helpful. Each day was a new day with a new group of industry peers, and It was incredible to see how everyone was somehow linked to someone I knew. This only proved how incredibly small, yet large, the exhibitions world is. I remember taking back so much knowledge and ideas to share with colleagues and implement for our three major shows. I developed a new appreciation for the exhibitions industry and how it connects so many different individuals to one another.
Overall, my CEM journey has been a life-changing journey. Throughout my journey, I enhanced my knowledge, developed new relationships and grew both professionally and personally. Without this grant, I would not have been able to complete my certification and for that, I am extremely grateful and humbled. I was also able to build long-lasting relationships that I will cherish forever and now feel as though I have a group of mentors I can reach out to for guidance and collaboration.
Tuesday, 1 September is the final day to apply for the 2020 Bob Dallmeyer Education Fund. Click here for more information on the Bob Dallmeyer Education Fund and to submit your application.